Challenging Restraint and Freezing Orders

The state now has wide powers to restrain or freeze assets. These can even be exercised in some circumstances by Trading Standards or Local Authorities and may cover bank accounts (Account Freezing Orders), assets in a criminal investigation (Restraint Orders), or assets in Civil Recovery Proceedings (Property Freezing Orders).


The restraint or freezing of assets can have a devastating effect on a person or a business. Quite often the investigating authority is well aware of this effect and may seek such orders to precisely that aim.
Account Freezing Orders are often used by police forces because the bar has been set low to obtain these orders, and the applicant authority is financially incentivised to seek forfeiture without the attendant time and expense required to pursue a criminal case to conviction in the Crown Court. As such, these powers may often be misused and are susceptible to challenge, with costs and compensation available if such a challenge succeeds.
Similarly, Civil Recovery Proceedings may be pursued if a criminal prosecution has failed, or if one has never been launched. Restraint Orders are imposed upon individuals or companies under criminal investigation.
In all circumstances the effect can be devastating and a successful challenge to an order can be a significant landmark in a case, landing an early blow to the investigating authority.
Often those affected by these orders will be advised that no challenge can be brought, or that they should “keep their powder dry” to some later unspecified time.
At Haley’s we are pro-active in vindicating our clients’ rights. Our experience teaches that there is often significant advantage to be gained by challenging draconian orders at the early stage of a case.


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